Two of the featured properties in the portfolio, the Etoniah Greenway and Long Branch, are within the Florida Wildlife Corridor. These parcels, totaling nearly 20,000 acres, are particularly important as a critical linkage for the passage of some of Floridaâ€™s most emblematic species, including the Florida black bear.
Peer-reviewed academic research was used to analyze the "value" of ecosystem services provided. Ecosystem services are those benefits we get from maintaining native habitats, like clean water and clean air, and are valued by the cost it would take to replace them with things like wastewater treatment plants and air scrubbers. The ecosystem service analysis was included so that decision makers can see that investments in preservation pay for themselves.
The properties were identified by assessing 26 different conservation resource attributes, including their beneficial impact to water quality, biodiversity, outdoor recreation, and sea level rise adaptation, to identify the most critical areas in the region.
â€œThe reality is that we are slowly, and bit by bit, losing Northeast Florida. We have in our area two of the most rapidly developing counties in the nation, St. Johns and Flagler Counties. In St. Johns County alone, a small townâ€™s worth of people is relocating there every year - 8,000 people or more. If we want to preserve our land for the future, we must act now,â€ notes Marc Hudson, Land Protection Director for the North Florida Land Trust.
You can check out the Preservation Portfolio and learn more about each of these conservation projects here.